Pituitary Innovation and Teaching
Cristina Lucarini - secretary to Dr. Cusimano
I see the pituitary patients after the referral comes in, which gets forwarded to Dr. Cusimano – that’s their first venture into neurosurgery. He reviews the information and prioritizes everything for me and there is a whole gamut of tests that need to be set up for them. I book most of the tests myself, but for some of them, we ask the referring doctor to help us out. Then patients come in to see Dr. Cusimano and they usually get booked for surgery. A lot of them do end up going to surgery and in between that process, there are pre-admission appointments that need to get done, sometimes MRI scans that need to be booked, CT scans, and visual field tests. If those haven’t been done before, they get done before the surgery, and then the patient goes to the OR.
After that, there’s a recovery process and they have a lot of questions, because sometimes things don’t always work out the way they expect or things happen that they’re not sure of, so they call me. If I can answer their questions, great, but if not, I will refer them to Dr. Cusimano or other nurse practitioners. Sometimes it’s very emotional and you can be on the phone with them for quite a long period of time, just because they’re nervous, they’ve never had this done before, and they have a lot of different questions such as how it’s going to affect them. You just try to talk them through it. I’ve never had this surgery before but you hear a lot from other patients who have, so there are certain things you can answer right away and reassure them that Dr. Cusimano is excellent at it and it’s a relatively “simple” procedure compared to some of the other things that he does. But when it’s the first time for you, it’s a big deal and they get really nervous so it’s just nice to be able to talk them through it.
I’m a little bit more casual with the patients than I think I should be sometimes; I try to use first names as often as I can, so I would say something like, “Julian, this is what you’re going to be going through. We’re going to be booking the follow-up appointments for you, the pre-admission appointments for you, you’re going to be coming in for surgery the same day, you’ll be checking in between 6 and 6:30, depending on the time of your surgery…etc.” So it’s very one-to-one. I try not to use “Mr. and Mrs.”, unless I feel that they would prefer that, and that’s fine, too, but I’m usually on a first-name basis with the patients – I like it better and I think they prefer it too, because we’re all at the same level, going through it together.
Page last updated: June 3, 2016